Press Release

Amianan Salakniban, the broadest network of environmental organizations and advocates in North Luzon, Philippines, expresses their support for El Salvador’s Day of Action against OceanaGold last October 22.

“The victory of the people of El Salvador to protect their water and their environment against a mining giant should be defended vigorously. We are one with the Salvadorans in this plight as our indigenous people in Nueva Vizcaya also suffer from the wrath of OceanaGold,” said Fernando Mangili, spokesperson of Amianan Salakniban.

Since 2012, the government of El Salvador is in a long-running $301 million dollar dispute with OceanaGold for refusing to grant a gold-mining permit in their country. The Central American country stand by their decision based on their national laws and policies intended to safeguard human and environmental health, and say the project would threaten the country’s water supply. According to El Salvador’s ministry of the environment more than 90 percent of their water sources are contaminated.

El Salvador’s defense states that OceanaGold did not comply with the basic requirements for any gold-mining permits. In 2009 the government introduced a moratorium on all mining related processes in the country due to the massive opposition of the people against mining.

However, by using a controversial provision in the country’s investment law, OceanaGold has been able to sue El Salvador saying that they should be compensated for the profits they should have made at the goldmine. If the country loses the case, they will pay OceanaGold more than 5 percent of their GDP or equivalent to half of their budget for health or education for one year. The resolution of the case is still pending before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a corporate driven tribunal housed in the Washington offices of the World Bank Group.

Critics of the ICSID claim that this is a ‘kangaroo court’ saying it is part of the system where all decisions are made within forums that international business interests have created, therefore, they have a lot of influence in the wordings of international trade agreements that the court is using.

“The Philippines should learn from the experience of El Salvador. We cannot trust the courts or the treaties that were made by corporations. In this light, we should be wary of any Free Trade Agreements that our government is signing with developed countries run by corporations. An example of this is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation which promotes neoliberal policies by opening up our natural resources for foreign investors to exploit,” Mangili said.

In the recent meeting of APECs Mining task force, Australia contributed $958,000 to further “enable an environment for trade and investment in mining.” 

“We urge the government of the Philippines to stand with the people of North Luzon against OceanaGold like how the El Salvador government stood with theirs. They may be a small developing country like ours but they are fighting like David against Goliath. If more Davids will fight Goliath, surely enough we shall see victory,” Mangili added.

The El Salvadoran People also wants Oceana Gold out of their country just as much as how people of Didipio wants the mining company shut down in their land.

The Australian mining company, OceanaGold is also operating commercially in the boundaries of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, Philippines since 2013. An environment investigative mission conducted by scientists of AGHAM last year, has proved that the adjacent river systems near the site are contaminated with high levels of copper making the water unfit for human use.

#DefendtheNorth from #CorporateGreed

#MartsaAmianan vs #APEC2015

For more information and follow-up interviews, please contact:

Fernando (Ampi) Mangili

Amianan Salakniban Spokesperson

(+63) 0998 864 9167                  

Republished from: https://amianansalakniban.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/philippines-support-elsalvador-against-oceana-gold-mining/